Is Mother Nature the real root of all evil? Are natural disasters the origins of some alleged curses? Can witchcraft be caused by weather? Occasionally, the answer is yes. And that’s the subject of the new series American Super/Natural debuting this October.
According to The Weather Channel’s press release, “American Super/Natural gives viewers a never-before-seen look into the Earth sciences as seen through the origins of Americana’s most frightening legends… this series peels back the layers of terrifying tales, examining their origins, the fascinating geographic and meteorological elements, and the modern day experiences told by the people who lived through them.”
The new series kicks off with a retelling of one of my favorite New England tales (and the inspiration behind The Blair Witch Project): the legend of Moll Dyer. During the harsh winter of 1697, colonists at Leonardtown, Maryland, blamed their plight of below-normal temperatures on a reclusive spinster named Moll Dyer. After fleeing from her blazing cabin, the accused witch froze to death kneeling on a stone beside a creek which today bears her name. When her body was found days later, they say her handprint remained embedded in the stone after her body was carried away.
Still today, many believe the arsonist act and resulting death of Moll placed a curse on the descendants of those involved as well as the entire town. The woods where Moll Dyer lived are said to be a dark, haunted place. The ghost of Moll Dyer is believed to still wander her property, and the rock where she took her dying breath—her frozen hand raised to the heavens in her final moments—causes pain or illness in some people who touch it.
While it’s good to see some of the lesser-known classic American legends coming to light, the first episode feels a bit lackluster. The climatic conditions in cases like Moll Dyer most certainly impacted the events which played out to tragic end, but meteorologists discussing matters such as hypothermia and the Little Ice Age occasionally feel like an excuse to prolong the episode to a full hour in length. And the famous Moll Dyer’s Rock which made this legend so renowned and still famous today? There isn’t even a mention of it until the middle of the episode.
While interesting, American Super/Natural has all the hallmarks of every other paranormal-themed series: the witness/expert interviews, glimpses of real locations, grungy reenactments, and mildly-sinister narration. Only time will tell if the rest of the season plays out like its first episode. While it won’t be winning any Emmy Awards, it’s amusing enough to add to your autumn lineup.
American Super/Natural premieres Sunday, October 5th at 10PM EST on The Weather Channel.